The U.S. State Department has awarded a $120 million contract to the U.S. Training Center, a business unit of the notorious military contractor formerly known as Blackwater (now known by the cryptic name Xe). The company is to begin work as soon as possible, providing security services in the Afghan cities of Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif for up to a year.
Despite formal accusations against five senior company officials on bribery, weapons and conspiracy charges, and the killing of innocent civilians in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Government still chooses to fund their heinous behavior with taxpayers’ dollars.
Jan Schakowsky, chair of the Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, promptly released a statement in response to the awarded contract to Blackwater:
“I was extremely disappointed to learn that the United States Training Center (USTC), the company formerly known as Blackwater, has been awarded another lucrative U.S. State Department task order for protective security services in Afghanistan. This is a company whose cowboy-like behavior has not only resulted in civilian deaths; it has also jeopardized our mission and the safety of U.S. troops and diplomatic personnel worldwide. Instead of punishing Blackwater for its extensive history of serious abuses the State Department is rewarding the company with up to $120 million in taxpayer funds.
“I strongly believe that the former Blackwater should not be receiving further U.S. contracts, and I have repeatedly urged the U.S. government to no longer do business with this company. Though the name Blackwater has become synonymous with the worst of contractor abuses, the bigger problem is our dangerous reliance on such companies for the business of waging war. Our use of private contractors undermines our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have introduced legislation, the Stop Outsourcing Security Act (H.R. 4650), which would phase out private security contractors.”
As we’ve addressed before, the public needs to make its voice heard loud enough so that the government has no other alternative than to end this trend of using private contractors.